ABSTRACT Aim: To compare the chewing process and swallowing threshold parameters of subjects with complete dentures and overdentures with data obtained from subjects with complete natural dentitions. Metho-dology: The chewing process in terms of swallowing threshold parameters of four groups of subjects with complete dentures (all females) was quantified by sieving particles after chewing of an artificial test ‘food’ and compared with that of subjects with com-plete natural dentitions as a reference group (33 sub-jects). All subjects (except those of the reference group) had a complete denture in the upper jaw. Regarding the lower jaw two groups with complete dentures (with high (24 subjects), respectively low mandible (12 subjects)) and two groups with overdentures (implant-retained (22 subjects), respectively natural root supported (19 subjects)) were composed. Results: The ‘overdenture-implants’ group needed significantly more chewing cycles and time (mean: 45 cycles in 32 seconds) until ‘swallowing’ compared to the group with complete natural dentitions (mean: 26 cycles in 19 seconds until ‘swallowing’). Also the ‘complete denture-low mandible’ group needed sig-nificantly more cycles and time (mean: 52 cycles in 44 seconds) until ‘swallowing’ than the complete dentition group. In the ‘overdenture-natural roots’ group these outcomes (33 cycles in 24 seconds) were not significantly different compared with the complete dentition group. The ‘complete denture-high mandi-ble’ group (32 cycles in 26 seconds) needed not sig-nificantly more cycles until ‘swallowing’, however time until ‘swallowing’ was significantly longer com-pared to the complete dentition group. All denture groups had significantly larger mean particle sizes when ‘swallowing’ (sizes in the order of 3 mm) than the natural dentition group (about 2 mm). Conclusion: Despite efforts to compensate for a reduced chewing efficiency, subjects with complete dentures (including overdentures) had 50% larger median particle sizes when ‘swallowing’ compared to subjects with complete natural dentitions.
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